Benefits of Eating Raw

It’s wonderful to be on Day 7 of my year of eating raw. I think I’m past the initial detox phase, and I’m flowing nicely into the beneficial part of this experience. It really has been super easy to reload these habits – not really a challenge, just a different way of experiencing life.

As part of my prep for this year, I reviewed some old blog posts and journal entries from my previous raw foodism times, so I could recall the benefits I documented. Then I compiled them into a big list. I’ll share that here, so you can get an idea of what motivates me to be a raw foodist this year. It’s something I’ve always wanted to re-explore more deeply.

First off, it really is very different from eating cooked vegan. As good as it feels to be vegan and as many benefits as that provides, so much gets significantly amplified when eating raw. The improvements are very noticeable, even after just a week.

Let’s go down the list:

Restful Sleep, Less Sleep, and Dreams

My sleep is deeper and more restful. I normally sleep 30-60 minutes less per night while eating raw, which means more waking hours. I’ll likely have less afternoon drowsiness as well, so I may not take as many afternoon naps. Yesterday I was struck by how alert and awake I felt through the whole afternoon.

I have very rich and vivid dreams each night on a raw diet, which really helps me stay deeply asleep. It often feels like my dreams are 2-3 days long, like complex adventure stories. My dream recall improves significantly too.

Also when I do get tired at the end of the day, sleepiness comes on more gradually, so I can stay up a bit later when I want. When I eat cooked food, the attack of drowsiness tends to come up quickly. On raw foods I can easily dismiss any drowsiness, and it goes away if I engage in any kind of activity. So the initial onset of drowsiness is more like a gentle notification that I can dismiss if I want.

Calm, Clear Mind and Enhanced Intelligence

My mind is so much calmer and clearer. It’s way easier to focus and to make aligned decisions. The mental boost is one of my favorite benefits, and it always kicks in relatively quickly.

I feel like my mind has 30% more RAM for thinking. This could even increase as the year progresses. This will be a great year for making decisions and implementing some new plans. Any kind of high-level thinking or planning work feels so much easier.

That extra mental RAM makes a huge difference. I can hold more complex thoughts and connections in my mind simultaneously, which makes it easier to think about the ways different projects relate to each other. This is wonderful for seeing the big picture of how my life and business are unfolding, and it’s especially good for looking at a large to-do list and immediately seeing the true priorities pop right out.

Consequently, I set different priorities when eating raw. I look at my old priorities and instantly recognize flaws in them, and then I fix them within minutes.

Faster Thinking

My mind feels like it runs faster too, but at the same time it feels less effortful. I observe that I flow through work more quickly and feel less fatigued afterwards.

Life Seems Easier

The extra mental capacity makes projects that previously looked daunting seem lighter and easier. I look at issues that seemed complex before, but on a raw diet they seem like no big deal. I know I can easily do them.

Faster Writing

I can write about 30% faster while eating raw. My mind will think further ahead automatically. After last year’s deep dive into blogging (and the extra training that provided), I could really be a writing and creative powerhouse in 2021 if I wanted to. Instead of more volume though, I want to invest in more depth this year.

I’m especially curious to see how this affects my course development work this year. I think it’s going to make the work feel a lot easier.

Reduced Cravings and Addictions

Cravings for unhealthy foods go down. So do compulsive and addictive behaviors of all types. It’s much easier to avoid distractions. This creates more freedom and discipline to make aligned choices. I’m already feeling increased desire for healthy, living foods, and cooked foods are losing their appeal.

It feels like I have more conscious control over myself and where I direct my thoughts and energy.

More Energy

I feel significantly more energetic in my body and emotions. I enjoy great energy flow when I need it. It’s easy to get more done each day, like 20-30% more action. That adds up.

I don’t have to put off as much to future days. Yesterday I finished all the items on a to-do list I made for the day. I haven’t done that in a while. Usually I have to put off a few tasks till the next day since I tend to be ambitious about what I try to squeeze into a day. Now it feels like my energy is in better balance with my ambition.

This actually makes me wonder if my sense of what I can get done in a day is calibrated to be accurate when I’m eating raw, so if I eat cooked food, I’ll always fall short of that.

Easier Breathing

My breathing feels easier and deeper, like my lungs are working more efficiently. It’s like I’m breathing in cool, minty air all the time… or maybe the air I’m taking in has somehow become more oxygen-rich.

Happier Emotions

I feel happier when eating raw, often euphoric. That’s a wonderful feeling to experience. I’m more optimistic about life as well. I feel more appreciation and gratitude. This is all effortless – it just happens.

I wonder how many people would permanently cure depression if they just ate a raw diet. I don’t see how I could possibly feel depressed eating this way, even if I tried. This way of eating generates too much positivity juice. It’s nice to know that this is how the human body is supposed to feel when we’re simply breathing.

Joint and Muscle Health

Eating raw and staying caffeine-free greatly improves my joint health. It’s easier to move. My joints and muscles feel looser, and I tend to be more flexible. My body feels more relaxed and flowing, not quite as solid and almost more liquid.

Stronger Nails

My nails grow stronger on raw foods. This takes a while though. Other modes of detoxification also help create stronger nails.

Better Sex

Having sex while eating raw is wonderful, like hearing the full symphony instead of just a few instruments.

Sex feels richer, more pleasurable, and more emotionally connected. Orgasms feel even better. Sex feels a little less physical and bit more spiritual and emotional. The physical aspect is still very nice, but the other aspects get turned up louder by comparison.

I also prefer having sex for much longer while eating raw, savoring the subtleties of the experience. Going for an hour or more feels really pleasurable and connected, especially emotionally. I knew one raw foodist who enjoyed making love for 2-3 hours. It’s a very rich and expressive way of connecting with someone.

The relationship with the person really impacts the experience. I can’t separate myself from her experience because I’m super sensitive to her feelings as well as my own. So mutual love and caring really matters.

Cleaner Body

My body feels cleaner and purer inside – somehow lighter and floatier. Every part feels like it’s running cleaner (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc).

Some sense of heaviness floats away. I feel like my cells have been scrubbed and cleansed, so everything runs better.

Different Gut Bacteria

My gut bacteria will change over time to align with healthy raw foods. This will improve my digestion and overall health and energy. My bowels get cleaner too, like they’ve been scrubbed out. Food feels more energizing.

Better Skin

Eating raw is very good for my skin, on my face and all over my body.

If you’ve ever seen before and after photos of someone who’s been eating raw for 6+ months, the difference is often remarkable. You can see it in the face so clearly. After a while on raw foods, the skin is cleaner and more youthful, often glowing.

The one exception was when I ate only 10% of calories from fat (80/10/10 diet) and got very dry skin on my hands after a few weeks. Including more fat in the diet solved that issue.

Thicker Hair

I used to have thinning hair, but investing in raw foods (and some additional detox methods) thickened it up again. It wouldn’t surprise me if my hair grows thicker still this year.

Weight Loss

Some people lose a dramatic amount of weight when they go raw for a while, like 25+ pounds in a month. I don’t expect anything like that, but as the body releases toxins, it tends to release extra fat as well. I normally get a bit leaner whenever I eat raw.

This year I’m also curious as to what I might learn from eating raw while also maintaining a daily food log. I’ve been food logging everything I eat for almost 8 months now.

Fitness Improvements

I get stronger while eating raw. I have more endurance. I breathe easier during exercise. Exercise feels better too.

If all I do is switch to raw, I can do 5-10 extra push-ups with no extra training. My muscles don’t tire out as quickly, and the push-ups feel easier too.

Last year I really got into hour-long morning runs, and I intend to continue that this year. Since running feels easier and more enjoyable on a raw diet, I may aim to go a bit further or faster as well.

I enjoy going for longer walks too. The extra endurance makes it feel good to walk longer.

Lower Appetite

My appetite will probably go down as digestion becomes more efficient. Eventually I may be inclined to eat less food. This takes a while to kick in though, maybe several months. I’m not sure if this will happen consistently, but I have experienced it in the past.

Once I’ve been raw for a while, I also find it relatively easy to skip meals if I need to. It’s not as important to eat on a regular schedule. My energy still feels good when I drift for a while without eating.

Easier Fasting

It’s easier to fast from a raw base, partly because I won’t have to detox as much. And fasting can be more efficient in its ability to detox me further.

Eyesight Improvement

Many raw foodists report eyesight improvement. I’ve noticed some improvements in terms of visual awareness, like I can take in more of my visual field all at once and feel more aware of what’s going on. I seem to be less mentally myopic.

More Sensitive Taste and Smell

My senses of taste and smell will improve, even within the first 30 days.

Every time I’ve eaten raw for 30+ days, cooked food tastes better afterwards. Cooked food dulls the senses. Raw food restores those senses.

Enjoying Fitness Classes

When it becomes viable to return to in-person fitness classes, I’ll likely enjoy them even more. Doing yoga and other workouts will feel better. I may enjoy challenging myself with some harder workouts since my body will handle them with greater ease. I’ll be able to push myself more and improve my fitness faster. I can handle harder workouts.

Rebuilding a Raw Body

Since we are what we eat, my body will gradually rebuild its muscles, organs, and tissues from raw foods instead of cooked. This can make my body more efficient over time. Apparently a body built from raw ingredients functions better than one built from cooked ingredients.

Since raw foods are way lower in toxins than cooked foods, this means a less toxin-filled body as well. Detoxing from what modern society puts in our bodies is a lifetime effort – this will remain important as long as we have biological bodies. The one thing I wished I’d learned early in my health journey was the critical importance of doing what’s necessary to reduce the level of toxicity in the body. I thought going vegetarian in my early 20s was a huge step when it was barely anything relative to what actually matters most health-wise.

Better Heat Tolerance

My body is way more heat tolerant on raw foods, so the hot summer days in Vegas are nothing to me. Going for a walk in 110-degree weather is delightful. It feels really good to soak up the energy of the hot sun, as if I’ve turned into a plant who thrives on sunlight.

Sauna sessions will feel cooler to me, and my body will sweat more easily to stay cooler.

But I’ll be more sensitive to the cold, so I’ll bundle up more in the colder months. It often drops below freezing in the winter in Vegas. This weekend the low here will be 34F / 1C.

Spicy food is one way to stay warmer. I especially love guacamole with habanero peppers, which are super spicy. I once got some of their juice on my lips by licking a knife I used to chop them. My lips felt like they were on fire, and I had to ice them for an hour. So I’m extra cautious with those peppers now. Jalapeños are a milder substitute.

My normal body temperature will drop a little as well, so I’ll run cooler internally too.

Lower Blood Pressure

My blood pressure is normal even on cooked foods, but my blood pressure will naturally drop a bit further while I’m on raw foods. One time I measured a drop of 14/3 in the first 30 days. It’s still in the normal healthy range but a bit healthier still.

Less Stress

It’s harder to feel stressed or overwhelmed while eating raw. My attitude towards any types of challenges tend to be pretty chill – a feeling of relaxed confidence. I think that’s a byproduct of having energy abundance and a sharp mind backing you up at all times. Life’s problems don’t seem so big; you know you’ll be fine just by using a fraction of your available resources.

Easier to Meditate

I feel more present in the moment on a raw diet. It’s easier to meditate due to better focus and a calmer mind. I’m also less likely to feel drowsy while meditating. But oddly I feel like meditation is less important.

Enjoying Music More

I enjoy listening to music more when I eat raw. Music seems richer and more nuanced. I feel like I’m listening with more of my brain. Even when listening to songs I’ve heard many times before, they feel fresh and revitalized. It’s like the music goes deeper into me and says more to me. This results in increased feelings of appreciation when I hear it.

I often play music while I work. Even though I’m playing the same artists and songs from before, I enjoy their music more.

More Enjoyable Travel

Since my body feels better and I have more energy, I’ll likely enjoy travel experiences more when that becomes viable again. I have to make some adaptations to eat raw on trips, but I expect that it will be worth it, especially if I prepare well for those trips in advance by making some dehydrated foods as fallback snacks.

I haven’t enjoyed eating raw on trips when I went in unprepared, but when I did prepare well, those experiences were great. This aspect also gets easier with more practice. I’m hoping I can do some travel later this year to practice this more.

More Synchronicities & Universal Cooperation

This is a harder one to explain, but it shows up powerfully every time.

Somehow I seem to be more aligned with the flow of life when eating raw. Synchronicities increase markedly. I feel very in tune with the Law of Attraction. My desires manifest with greater ease, flow, wonder, and delight. I feel like the universe is even more on my side than before. My relationship with reality improves. I get a lot of that “I can do no wrong” feeling where so many things just work out swimmingly.

I wrote a ponderous post about this last month with some musings about why this happens.

Super Strong Immune System

Raw foods are terrific for maintaining a strong immune system. I’ve never gotten sick while eating raw. That has only happened when I strayed back to cooked foods – then I’m pretty much guaranteed to get sick right away.

When I’ve been around sick people who are coughing and sneezing while I’m in raw mode, I can almost feel this extra pathway of communication from my body, telling me that I’ve been exposed to something but not to worry – my immune system is on the job and can handle it with ease. I might catch the faintest whiff of a symptom of illness, and then it’s gone.

I’m not going to go out maskless, and I do intend to get immunized for COVID when that becomes available. But I do feel like eating raw provides a significant boost against infections and illness, probably against COVID too, so this may give me a substantial risk reduction for the year.

Intuition and Psychic Abilities

My intuition will be much stronger, and I’ll be more accurate at picking up psychic impressions. I’ll get some helpful insights that could benefit myself and others.

I think this is due to the brain working more efficiently and running cleaner.

Another effect is that I find it easier to trust my intuition because it comes through clearer and stronger. I’m less inclined to doubt it. Consequently, I act in alignment with my intuition more often.

More Attractiveness

People are likely to find me more attractive. I’ll get more invitations of various sorts. While out in person, people will be more likely to start up conversations with me, to make side comments to me, or to be flirtatious.

I’m sharing this based on past experiences. Whenever I’ve eaten raw, I’ve seen an increase in people reaching out to me and wanting to connect in some way. I don’t think this is about looking good visually since it happens in person and online. I think it has to do with some kind of energetic effects.

This has the side effect of making the world seem friendlier, more social, and more engaging. I also don’t feel like I have to push myself as much socially because people reach out to connect with ease.

One of the most beautiful social experiences of my life was attending a raw food festival in Sedona with 3000 other raw food enthusiasts. That was an unforgettable glimpse of how humans are meant to interact and engage with each other. Basically take anything you’ve seen from Trump supporters, and imagine everyone doing the opposite behaviors. It’s heavenly to be surrounded by people smiling and beaming love constantly. Talking to anyone about anything is effortless.

I think a lot of social anxiety would be eliminated if more people ate raw.

Empathy and Alignment Sensitivity

I feel more empathy and compassion towards people. World events stir up more emotion in me.

Consequently, I have to be extra careful about alignment and boundary management. Aspects of my life that I could handle on a cooked food diet become harder to handle on raw foods. I crave more purity, decency, honesty, and caring in connections with people. I crave more depth and soulfulness.

Misalignments feel doubly misaligned and can’t remain unresolved. Yesterday I announced on Facebook that I’ll be closing my accounts there (business and personal). I’ll be off that service by the end of the week. I was already thinking about leaving last month, but when I switched to raw foods, that decision became a no-brainer.

Emotional Amplification

Raw emotions are stronger emotions. Sorrow feels sadder. Anger feels madder. Motivation feels more motivating. Since the body has lots of extra energy, you get more amped up emotional juice too. It’s really hard to find a raw foodist who’s emotionally numb.

This is a mixed blessing. Sometimes it’s the most difficult aspect to handle because it’s really hard to go against your feelings when you eat raw. So if you go this route, you’d better be willing to follow a path with a heart. If you’re on a heartless path when you go raw, you’ll probably end up tearing that path to shreds, which will be a good thing since you’ll soon replace it with something much more aligned.

If you can’t even hear the voice of your heart much, you’ll surely hear it loud and clear after eating raw for a while.

Faster Decisions

I experience less internal friction when making decisions, especially less doubt. There’s a more direct line from idea to action. When I get an idea, instead of holding onto it and mulling it over for a while, I’m more likely to flow into action without really trying.

This means fewer ideas die on the vine. More gets done. I spend less time deciding and more time doing and experiencing.

The Year Ahead

The benefits above are relatively predictable based on what I’ve experienced many times before from eating raw. Most of these kick in noticeably within the first month, while other aspects tend to build up more gradually. Even after just the first week, I’m already observing some of these effects. I feel very different than I did just a week ago – all in a good way.

I’ve never eaten all raw for a full year straight though. Six months was my previous record for continuous raw, although I did eat raw for most of 2008. So I’m super curious about whether some of these effects will amp up even more over time or if I’ll observe any new changes along the way. I’m happy to share any meaningful insights that come up.

Life really takes on a whole different flavor when eating raw. All of these changes add up to a new day-to-day experience.

I have a pretty good baseline of stability in my life and business right now, and I want to see how eating raw perturbs that equilibrium. It’s going to be fun to find out.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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